Learning About, and Discussing, War and Strategic Competition
“Only the dead have seen the end of war.”
While frequently misattributed to Plato, it was actually George Santayana who wrote these words in Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies (1922). But the message is clear. War, unfortunately, is a core element of human existence in this planet.
If that is the case, should we not learn from previous wars in order to minimise their likelihood in future? Or, if such cataclysms are forced upon us, shouldn’t we learn as much as we can about winning them?
This substack is dedicated to exploring war and human competition in its many and varied forms.
Futura Doctrina is not an undertaking where I seek to glorify war. I have seen first hand that there is no glory in such endeavours. There is courage, leadership, victory, creativity, cowardice and defeat. But no glory.
What are my qualification to discuss such issues?
I spent 35 years in the Australian Army, during which time I commanded Australian soldiers at multiple levels, served on operations in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan, and served on strategic headquarters in the United States and Australia. I also studied for masters degrees in military studies, operational studies and international public policy. In February 2022, I retired as a Major General.
But I have also been a writer for over two decades, publishing my first article as a young major back in 1999. Since then I have published in multiple journals in Australia and overseas, contributed chapters to six different books.
In February 2022, I published my first solo book - War Transformed: The Future of 21st Century Great Power Competition and Conflict (US Naval Institute books). In May 2023, my second book called White Sun War, a novel about a future war over Taiwan, was published (Casemate).
I write columns for Australian and international publications, including the Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. I have also published articles in The Economist and Foreign Affairs. Regularly, I appear on Australian and international television providing commentary on topical strategic issues, particularly ABC Australia and CNN International.
In mid-2022, I was banned by the Russian Government from entering Russian territory because of my support for Ukraine and my frequent articles and commentary on the war.
In Future Doctrina, I seek to examine, write about and discuss warfare and competition - as well as specific modern conflicts like Ukraine or potential future wars in places like the Western Pacific, the Middle East and the subcontinent. There will be weekly articles as well as short commentaries on topical strategic issues.
In the process, I hope to propose theories and strategies for how democracies can be better informed on defending their interests and ensuring the prosperity and liberty of their citizens.
Thank you for joining me on this journey of learning and discovery!